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Stroke count vs speed

Alright everyone... Last night went to the 2nd week of a swimfortri technique course and it was all about rotation drills and going long.

Normally I think I'm about an 18 SPL in a 25m pool, averaging around 8mins for a 400m. Last night after drills and really concentrating at the end of the session I was down to 13 SPL! I thought I must have counted wrong but then repeated it.

I do feel I have quite a lazy stroke though and am finding it difficult to up my arm speed without losing form and therefore don't seem to be gaining any speed.

Anyone know any good drills for arm speed? Or has anyone tried one of these?



  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Reckon that might very well be one more gadget to sneak into my kit bag without the misses seeing.

    Cheers MG, very useful link!
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    I found these videos quite awe inspiring. One of the TI gurus:

    9 strokes for 25m

    However, if he wants to go fast, the timing is different and he does:

    12 strokes for 25m

    He takes around 30 seconds for 50m front crawl, but only races breaststroke (4 mins for 400m). He's no spring chicken either.

    The tears of frustration roll down my cheeks faster than I can swim when watching this.

    There's another one of him doing a fantastic "superman glide".
  • That guy is amazing! Great links thanks.

    I just dont see how he manages to stay so level in the water. I seem to have sinking legs!!
  • The guy is almost doing catch-up!! Although I think the technique is fine for a nice empty pool, cant see many people keeping that up in open water. Plus, if he's claiming to swim 400m breastroke in 4 mins, he better be at the 2012 Olympics. There's no event for 400 but the 200 world record is only 2.02.
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    I can't talk for elite swimmers here and DEFINETLY not sprinting, but I learned that at my paces, the lower my stroke count, the faster I will go.

    Last night was my second coaching on swim technique since I'd been stuck at 20min/km for 3 months, trying regularly to concentrate on form and all of the great TI stuff but without someone who knew what it "should" look like, and what I "acutally" looked like.

    The pool where I could have lessons was only 20m but I could regularly get to a 12 SPL when I focused on maintaining the right cadence and timing for breathing. For me, this involved looking slightly up/forward and having turned my head for breathing when my arm was only ~40% of the way through a pull. Gave loads more time for superman-like gliding.

  • jon_gjon_g Posts: 318
    hey, that guy in the video is cheating! i make it 10 strokes and 13 strokes respectively. i didnt know you could just not count the first stroke you take. if thats the case then i can do a lenght in 10 strokes too!
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    ConspiracyTheory wrote:

    Plus, if he's claiming to swim 400m breastroke in 4 mins, he better be at the 2012 Olympics.

    He's not claiming that. He's nice enough to answer questions posted on the thread below the video. He was asked how fast he could swim 50m. He said about 30 secs. But he doesn't have any accurate times for FC, as he only races breaststroke. So it is 30 secs for 50m FC. Not 400m breaststroke! Apologies if I was a bit garbled earlier on.

  • timtim Posts: 43
    when concentrating hard on reducing SPL i can get down to 20 in a 25meter pool, i canot fathom where i could reduce SPL any further. when i am in a pool i do not push much from the edge as i see that as cheating myself, i wont have an edge in open water so use it as little as possible in the pool, When you guys do your count do you push off hard from each side as this is the only way i can see how to reduce my SPL any further.

  • jon_gjon_g Posts: 318
    nope, not a big push off. up to the line where the flags would normally be. is that 2 meters? cant remember, long time since i did competitive swimming! omg, just realised that was over 12 years ago. man i'm getting old!
  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Yeah same here jon_g.

    Must stress I'm not averaging 13 over 400m, but 13 over 50. And I'm not going quick either, that's my problem.

    Have invested in the 'wetronome' (I know I'm a sucker for a gadget) to try and increase my tempo, and hopefully not sacrifice too much stroke length! Will let you know how it goes, or if it ends up covered in dust at the back of the cupboard.
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    Nothing wrong with "almost catch up" in my opinion.

    I made a bit of a breakthrough in my local 25m pool recently, consistently doing 16 SPL without sacrificing pace. I can do 11SPL but giving up about 5 seconds.

    My "secret" was making sure my thumb clipped my hip on way back and then in the recovery, having done the "zipper" recovery, making sure my thumb clips the protruding bt of my armpit before reaching ahead for re-entry.

    I've no idea what the benefit is other than (a) keeping disciplined and (b) I think - amatuer analysis here - that it encorages me to swim on either side a bit more exaggerateedly than I would normally.

    However, over distance I start to lose form. In the 60m Hampstead Lido I start off doing 42 SPL then increasing to 46-47 and when I'm really tired, or more like it, lose concentration, even above 50.

    Also, in my entry level wetsuit I find it hard to maintain a high elbow recovery because my shoulders get tired, I think because my wetsuit is not thinner in this area.

    "Swim golf" is a good routine in this regard.
  • @Jon_g

    Flags are at 5 meters for your info.
  • jon_gjon_g Posts: 318
    ah, it's not as far as that then. my local pool has a line in it about 3 meters in, my push takes me to about there. thanks for clearing that up!

    and PC67, you dont need a high elbow on the recovery, you need a high elbow on your stroke. what you do with your arm out the water is largely irrelevant. i know lots of people will argue about that!
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    I try for the high elbow recovery as I have tried to model my stroke in the TI method and I think it looks a bit cooler! By keeping it high above the water I find it promotes swimming on my side a bit more than if I was recovering "round arm".
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595

    I tend to swim 25m in 18 strokes; that's about 25 seconds, the lowest I have ever done is 11. Flat out I will be taking 22 strokes + and swimming about 18 seconds for 25m but wasting an enormous amount of energy and thrashing like a blackbird having a bath.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    I can only manage about 16 strokes for a 20m pool, and only maintain that for 3 lengths. Generally i tend to average about 20spl in that pool, and i haven't really got a clue how long it takes per length.

  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    High elbow recovery helps you to 'spear' your hand forwards into the water - promoting a long stroke. If you recover with your hand high you are more likely to splash your fore-arm down onto the surface - you then waste energy pushing your hand down into the water before you can start on the catch.

    Elbow high is a far 'cleaner' way to swim. Hand high always results in what my 11 year-old daughter refers to as "Splashing like a fool. Uhhh!" in a Mr. T voice.[:D]

    PC67 appears to have discovered the 'Chicken Wings' drill: keep your thumb touching your side all the way from your thigh to your underarm. It's a good 'un.
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    Thks Bopo, would you recommend keeping the "chicken wings" thought throughout your normal race stroke?

    Also, where do you "spear" your hand? Just past your head or further??

    I try to but feel that the high elbow recovery tires my shoulders after a few lengths if I wear my wetsuit. Maybe I need a more expensive wetsuit with narrower material around the shoulders. Maybe I just need to stop thinking that more money spent on kit will solve my ills!

  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    I broke 80 doing swim golf over 50m yesterday, first time. When I started doing this my 50m score was anything between 90 and 100.

    2 x 14 SPL and 50 seconds for the 50m = 78.

    Quite happy. Something to work on still as there's no way I can maintain that over distance, but chuffed that I can do 2x 25 second lengths while keeping good form and without going flat out.
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    Last night in Hampstead Lido I did my first 60m length in 33 strokes and 60 seconds. I was chuffed and smugly thought I've finally cracked this swimming lark.

    10 lengths later I was doing 50 SPL in 75+ seconds.

    Very downhearted.
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